As an avid video game fan, I certainly understand the frustrations associated with only having one controller. Most consoles ship with a single controller, forcing consumers to buy another if they want to play with friends. In addition, when the controller dies, the consumer must scramble to buy a replacement; after all, you can’t spend too much time apart from your games. Wouldn’t it be nice to turn a regular, non-electronic household device into a controller? Sony certainly thinks so – and wants you to use extra bananas as secondary controllers.
Is it Really a Banana Controller?
Sony originally filed its banana controller patent application in 2019 in the United Kingdom. The United States application, claiming benefit of the UK publication, recently published. It should be noted that the application has yet to undergo any type of examination; it may never become a patent. However, even if it does, it’s important to note that, at least the moment, the application is not restricted to banana controllers. While the drawings feature a banana, the application broadly defines the type of controller as “non-luminous”. In other words, any item that does not emit light falls under the scope of the current claim set. As the application notes, the controller could be “a banana, orange, mug, pen, glass,” or any other object.
As we’ve previously covered, wacky ideas often make it into patent applications, particularly in the tech industry. Gaming companies often at least pursue patent protection on off-the-wall ideas. Sometimes the companies have no plans to commercialize the inventions; however, you never know the potential market for an idea until you start to capitalize on it. Moreover, sometimes companies include left-field ideas to gain some publicity – which Sony certainly gained through this application.
Patent Drawings – Always Enjoyable
We’ll have to see if Sony eventually obtains patent protection, or if the company markets banana controllers in the future. We’ll also have to see if Nintendo regrets not including bananas with its Donkey Kong Jungle Beat bongo controllers. Regardless, seeing crazy patent drawings remains one of the most interesting parts of reading patent applications.
You do not necessarily need professional drawings in a patent application. However, the USPTO enforces strict drawing requirement rules.
Maybe never – but Sony’s patent application indicates that the company at least considered the idea of a PlayStation banana controller!